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نياحة القديس دوماديوس أخى مكسيموس

في هذا اليوم تذكار القديسين الجليلين مكسيموس وأخيه دوماديوس .

وكان أبوهما "الندينيانوس" ملك الروم رجلا خائف الله قويم المعتقد ، فرزقه هذين القديسين.

وكانا منذ صغرهما مثل الملائكة قي الطهر والقداسة ، ملازمين الصلاة ومطالعة الكتب المقدسة .

ولما تحقق لهما زوال هذا العالم وكل مجده ، قررا تركه وعزما علي العيشة الرهبانية .

فطلبا من أبيهما ان يسمح لهما بالذهاب إلى مدينة نيقية ، ليصليا في مكان اجتماع المجمع المقدس المسكوني الاول ، الذي انعقد سنة 325 م ، ففرح أبوهما وأرسل معهما حاشية من الجند والخدم كعادة أولاد الملوك .

ولما وصلا أمرا الجند ان يرجعوا إلى أبيهما ويقولوا له انهما يريدان ان يمكثا هناك أياما . ثم كشفا أفكارهما لأحد الرهبان القديسين من انهما يريدان لباس الإسكيم المقدس .

فلم يوافقهما علي ذلك خوفا من أبيهما ، وأشار عليهما ان يذهبا إليه وظلا عنده حتى تنيح .

وكان قبل نياحته قد البسهما شكل الرهبنة ، وعرفهما بأنه رأي في رؤيا الليل القديس مقاريوس وهو يقول له أوص ولديك ان يأتيا إلى بعد نياحتك ويصيرا لي بنينا .

ثم قال لهما : أنني كنت اشتهي ان انظر هذا القديس بالجسد ، ولكنني قد رايته بالروح .

فبعد نياحتي امضيا إليه بسلام . وقد انعم الله عليهما بموهبة شفاء المرضي ، وشاع ذكرهما في تلك البلاد وخصوصا بين التجار والمسافرين ، وتعلما صناعة شراع ( قلوع ) السفن.

فكانا يقتاتان بثمن ما يبيعان منها ويتصدقان علي الفقراء والمساكين بما يفضل عنهما . وذات يوم رأي أحد حجاب أبيهما شراع إحدى السفن مكتوبا عليه " مكسيموس ودوماديوس " ، فاستفسر من صاحب السفينة فقال له : هذا اسم أخوين راهبين ، كتبته علي سفينتي تبركا ، لكي ينجح الله تجارتي .

ثم أوضح له أوصافهما بقوله ، ان أحدهما قد تكاملت لحيته والأخر لم يلتح بعد ، فعرفهما الحاجب واخذ الرجل وأحضره أمام الملك . ولما تحقق منه الأمر أرسل إليهما والدتهما والأميرة أختهما .

فلما تقابلتا بالقديسين وعرفتاهما بكتا كثيرا . ورغبت أمهما ان يعودا معها فلم يقبلا، وطيبا قلب والدتهما وأختهما . وبعد ذلك بقليل تنيح بطريرك رومية ، فتذكروا القديس مكسيموس ليقيموه بدلا عنه .

ففرح والده بذلك . ولما وصل هذا الخبر إلى القديس مكسيموس وأخيه ، تذكرا وصية أبيهما الانبا أغابيوس ، فغير الاثنان شكلهما ، وقصدا طريق البحر الأبيض.

وكانا إذا عطشا يبدل الله لهما الماء المالح بماء عذب، وتعبا كثيرا من السير حتى أدمت أرجلهما، فناما علي الجبل وقد أعياهما التعب ، فأرسل الله لهما قوة حملتهما إلى برية الاسقيط ، حيث القديس مقاريوس، وعرفاه انهما يريدان السكني عنده .

ولما أراهما من ذوي التنعم ، ظن انهما لا يستطيعان الإقامة في البرية لشظف العيشة فيها .

فأجاباه قائلين : ان كنا لا نقدر يا أبانا فأننا نعود إلى حيث جئنا . فعلمهما ضفر الخوص ثم عاونهما في بناء مغارة لهما .

وعرفهما بمن يبيع لهما عمل أيديهما ويأتيهما بالخبز . فأقاما علي هذه الحال ثلاث سنوات ، لم يجتمعا بأحد ، وكانا يدخلان الكنيسة لتناول الأسرار الإلهية وهما صامتين ، فتعجب القديس مقاريوس لانقطاعهما عنه كل هذه المدة ، وصلي طالبا من الله ان يكشف له أمرهما وجاء إلى مغارتهما حيث بات تلك الليلة .

فلما استيقظ في نصف الليل كعادته للصلاة ، رأي القديسين قائمين يصليان ، وشعاع من النور صاعدا من أفواهها إلى السماء ، والشياطين حولهما مثل الذباب ، وملاك الرب يطردهم عنهما بسيف من نار . فلما كان الغد البسهما الإسكيم المقدس وانصرف قائلا : صليا عني فضربا له مطانية وهما صامتين .

ولما اكملا سعيهما وأراد الرب ان ينقلهما من أحزان هذا العالم الزائل . مرض القديس مكسيموس فأرسل إلى القديس مقاريوس يرجوه الحضور . فلما أتي إليه وجده محموما فعزاه وطيب قلبه .

وتطلع القديس مقاريوس وإذا جماعة من الأنبياء والقديسين ويوحنا المعمدان وقسطنطين الملك جميعهم قائمين حول القديس إلى ان اسلم روحه الطاهرة بمجد وكرامة .

فبكي القديس مقاريوس وقال : طوباك يا مكسيموس . أما القديس دوماديوس فكان يبكي بكاء مرا ، وسال القديس مقاريوس ان يطلب عنه إلى السيد المسيح لكي يلحقه بأخيه .

وبعد ثلاثة ايام مرض هو ايضا ، وعلم القديس مقاريوس فذهب إليه لزيارته . فيما هو في طرقه رأي جماعة القديسين الذين كانوا قد حملوا نفس أخيه ، حاملين نفس القديس دوماديوس وصاعدين بها إلى السماء .

فلما آتي إلى المغارة وجده قد تنيح ، فوضعه مع أخيه الذي كانت نياحته في الرابع عشر من هذا الشهر . وأمر ان يدعي الدير علي اسمهما فدعي دير البراموس نسبة إليهما ، وهكذا يدعي إلى اليوم . صلاتهما تكون معنا امين .

‏Departure of St.Maximus and St.Domatius

‏On this day is the commemoration of the two honored saints Maximus and his brother Domatius .

‏Their father's name was Walendianus, he was one of the Roman emperors who feared God and was Orthodox in faith.

‏God gave him these two sons who were angelic in their purity and holiness since their young age, always praying and reading the holy books.

‏When they realized the vanity of this world and all its glory, they decided to leave it and live a monastic life.

‏They asked their father to allow them to go to the City of Nicea, to pray in the place where the first Universal Council was held in 325 A.D.

‏Their father rejoiced, and he sent an entourage of soldiers and servants with them, as was the custom for the children of kings.

‏When they arrived, they asked the soldiers to go back to their father and tell him that they wanted to stay there for some time.

‏Then they revealed their thoughts to a saintly monk, that they desired to put on the holy garb of the monks.

‏The monk did not agree with them because he feared their father, but he advised them to go to Syria where St. Agabius abided.

‏They went to St. Agabius and stayed with him until his departure.

‏Before he departed, he put on them the monastic garb, and told them that he saw St. Macarius in a night vision saying, "Command your two sons to come to me after your departure, so that they may become my children."

‏Then St. Agabius told them, "I desired to see St. Macarius in the flesh, but I have seen him in the spirit. After my departure, you should go to him in peace."

‏God granted them the gift of healing the sick.

‏Their report was heard in all the countries, especially among the sea merchants and the travellers.

‏They learned the trade of making ships' sails, and they were able to support themselves with money earned from selling them, and they gave the rest to the poor and the needy.

‏ One day, one of their father's stewards saw a ship with the names "Maximus and Domatius" on its sail. He inquired of the owner of the ship about these names.

‏The owner told the steward, "These are the names of two monk brothers, which I have written on my ship as a blessing, so that God with their prayers may prosper my business."

‏He described the brothers to him, as one with a full beard, and the other without a beard.

‏The steward recognized them and he took the man and brought him before the Emperor. When the Emperor made certain about what he had heard, he sent their mother and the princess, their sister, to meet them.

‏When the women met with the two saints and recognized them, they wept.

‏Their mother wanted them to return with her, but the Saints refused, and they comforted the hearts of their mother and sister.

‏After a while, the Patriarch of Rome departed, and they remembered Maximus, whom they wanted to ordain in his place. His father rejoiced when he heard this.

‏When the news arrived to St. Maximus and his brother, they remembered the command of their father Anba Agabius.

‏They disguised themselves, and took the road along the Mediterranean sea shore,

‏and when they were thirsty, God transformed for them the salty water into sweet water.

‏They became very tired of walking, and their feet were bleeding.

‏They slept on a hill because of their exhaustion and God sent them a certain power that carried them to the wilderness of Scetis where St. Macarius was residing.

‏They told St. Macarius that they wanted to live under his guidance.

‏When St. Macarius saw that they were of rich background, he thought that they would not be able to live in the desert because of its harsh living conditions.

‏They answered him saying, "If we are not able to live here, our father, we will return to where we came from."

‏Then he taught them how to plait palm leaves, and he helped in building a cave (cell) for them.

‏He also told them about someone who would take the work of their hands to sell and bring them back bread.

‏ They lived in this manner for three years, never communicating with anyone.

‏They only went to church to partake of the Divine Sacraments silently.

‏St. Macarius marvelled, for they did not go to him all these years.

‏He prayed to God to reveal to him their secret.

‏He went to visit them in their cell where he stayed the night with them.

‏When he woke up at midnight, as was his custom, to pray,

‏he saw the two saints praying and a ray of light going from their mouths to heaven,

‏and the devils were all around them like flies,

‏and the angel of the Lord standing with a sword of fire to protect them.

‏The next day, St. Macarius put on them the holy Eskiem, and asked them to pray for him.

‏They bowed to the ground before him (made metanias) in silence.

‏When they completed their course, and the Lord wanted to take them away from the sorrows of this temporal world, St. Maximus became sick.

‏He sent word to St. Macarius, asking him to come.

‏When St. Macarius arrived, he found St. Maximus ill with a fever, and he comforted him.

‏St. Macarius saw a company of prophets and saints, including St. John the Baptist and Emperor Constantine, gathered around the Saint until he delivered his pure spirit in dignity and in honor.

‏St. Macarius wept and said, "Blessed are you, 0 Maximus." St. Domatius, his brother, wept bitterly, and asked St. Macarius to pray on his behalf to the Lord Christ to take him also to be with his brother.

‏After three days, he also became sick, and when St.Macarius knew by the spirit he went to visit him.

‏On his way, he saw the company of saints who carried St. Maximus before carrying the soul of St.Domatius ascending up to heaven.

‏When he arrived at the cave, St. Macarius found that St. Domatius had passed away.

‏St. Macarius put St.Domatius' body with his brother's, whose departure was on the 14th day of this month.

‏St.Macarius ordered that the monastery be called after their names, the monastery of "El-Baramus" as it is known until today.

‏May Their prayers be with us. Amen.

Departure of Anba Yusab, Bishop of Girga, Known as El-Abbah

On this day also, of the year 1826 A.D., Anba Yusab, the great scholar and honorable father, departed. He was the Bishop of Girga and Ekhmiem, and was known by the name "El-Abbah".

He was born in the town of Nekhila in Upper Egypt, to rich parents who were compassionate to the poor and the needy.

When Anba Yusab was 25 years old, his parents wanted him to be wed, but he refused.

Because of his inclination towards the monastic life, he went to the estate of St.Anthony's monastery in the city of Boash.

He stayed there for some time, during which his humility and piety were evident.

This convinced the abbot to send him to the monastery.

When he arrived, the monks received him with joy, for they had heard of his virtues and his knowledge of the Holy Scriptures.

Shortly after, they clothed him in the monk's tunic.

When the reports of this father reached Pope John, 107th Patriarch, he called Anba Yusab and kept him with him.

After the Pope verified what he heard of Anba Yusab' righteousness and knowledge,

he counseled with the bishops who agreed to ordain Anba Yusab a bishop over Ekhmiem and Girga.

Anba Yusab refrained from accepting this rank because of its responsibilities; however, he was ordained against his will.

When he arrived at his diocese, Anba Yusab found many heretics mingled with his people.

He built a church, and made a great effort to gather his flock, to teach them, to restore those who were lost, and to guide many of the heretics to the faith.

He wrote several articles on the Incarnation of the Lord Christ and explained several difficult issues and ambiguous verses in the Bible.

He urged his people to forsake all the bad customs that they were engaged in, both inside and outside the church.

He succeeded in putting an end to the quarrels and divisions from those who were in opposition to the truth.

He was merciful to the poor, and never judged anyone by his appearance.

He was fair in judgement, never took sides, and did not accept bribes.

He sent whatever money he had left to his brethren, the monks, in their monasteries. He did not own anything except the clothes that he wore and those things which fulfilled his basic needs.

He never uttered anything but the truth, and was not afraid of the mighty rulers of the land. He shepherded his flock with the best of care.

When God wanted to take him away from this world, Anba Yusab became ill for a short period of time.

While he was sick, he stayed some time in his diocese, and then in the cell of Pope Anba Peter, 109th Pope. Then he went to his monastery in the wilderness.

The monks rejoiced to see him, and his blessed life ended there, and he gave his pure spirit into the hand of the Lord who loved him. He lived 91 years, 25 years before his monastic life, 31 years in the monastery, and 35 years as bishop.

May His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.

نياحة القديس الأنبا يوساب الأبح أسقف جرجا

في مثل هذا اليوم من سنة 1826 م تنيح الاب العالم الجليل الانبا يوساب ،

أسقف جرجا وأخميم المعروف بالابح .

وقد ولد ببلدة النخيلة من أبوين غنيين محبين للفقراء .

ولما بلغ من العمر 25 عاما أراد والداه ان يزوجاه فلم يقبل ، ولميله إلى الحياة الرهبانية قصد عزبة دير القديس أنطونيوس ببلدة بوش .

وأقام هناك مدة ظهر فيها تواضعه وتقواه ، الأمر الذي جعل رئيس الدير يوافق علي إرساله إلى الدير .

ولما وصل استقبله الرهبان فرحين نظرا لما سمعوه عنه من الفضيلة التي تحلي بها ، وعن كثرة بحثه وتأملاته في الأسفار المقدسة ، وبعد قليل البسوه ثياب الرهبنة .

ولما وصل خبره إلى الاب البطريرك الانبا يوحنا السابع بعد المائة ، استدعاه وأبقاه لديه ، وإذ تحقق ما كان يسمعه عنه من التقوى والعلم ، دعا الأباء الأساقفة تشاور معهم علي إقامته أسقفا علي كرسي جرجا .

أما هو فاعتذر عن قبول هذا المنصب لكثرة أعبائه ، فرسموه رغما عنه . ولما وصل إلى مقر كرسيه ، وجد شعبه وقد اختلط به الهراطقة ، فسعي في لم شمله ، وبني له كنيسة واجتهد في تعليمه ، ورد الضالين ، وهداية كثيرين من الهراطقة .

ووضع عده مقالات عن تجسد السيد المسيح ، وفسر كثيرا من المعضلات الدينية ، والآيات الكتابية ، وحث شعبه علي أبطال العادات المستهجنة ، التي كانت تجري أثناء الصلاة في الكنيسة وخارجها.

كما افلح في إبطال المشاجرات والمخاصمات التي كانت تحدث من المعاندين للحق .

وكان رحوما علي الفقراء ، ولم يكن يأخذ بالوجوه ، ولم يحاب في القضاء ، ولم يقبل رشوة .

أما ما كان يتبقى لديه فكان يرسله إلى الاخوة الرهبان بالأديرة ، ولم يكن يملك شيئا إلا ما يكسو به جسده ، وما يكفي لحاجته.

ولم ينطق بغير الحق ، ولم يخش باس حاكم ، ورعي شعبه احسن رعاية .

ولما أراد الله انتقاله من هذا العالم ، مرض عدة ايام ، فضي بعضها بكرسيه والبعض الأخر بقلاية الاب البطريرك الانبا بطرس التاسع بعد المائة ،

ثم توجه إلى ديره بالبرية ، ففرح به الرهبان وهناك انتهت حياته المباركة ، واسلم روحه الطاهرة بيد الرب الذي احبه . وكانت مدة حياته إحدى وتسعين سنة . منها خمس وعشرون قبل الرهبنة ، وإحدى وثلاثون بالدير وخمس وثلاثون بكرسي الأسقفية .

صلاته تكون معنا ولربنا المجد دائما ابديا امين .

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Virgin Mary & Archangel Michael Coptic Orthodox Church

Mission

Our mission is to have people know God through the Holy Bible, the Seven Sacraments, and Service to our congregation and the community. We are committed to helping people grow spiritually, psychologically, and in all aspects of life.


Description

Our church was founded in 1986 with nine families using a portable altar. In 1992, the church grew to 34 families, and a church building was bought in Hamden. The Thrice-Blessed H.H. Pope Shenouda III Consecrated the altar, also in 1992. The Late Fr. Gabriel Abdelsayed would come and pray liturgies until his repose in 1993. Visiting priests, as well as appointed priests, served the church until 2000. In 2000, the church grew to 53 families, and in the same year, the Thrice-Blessed H.H. Pope Shenouda III ordained Fr. Abraham Azmy to be the first consecrated priest of the church. Since 2000 the church grew rapidly, and in 2008 the Thrice-Blessed H.H. Pope Shenouda III ordained Fr. Andrew Awad as the second consecrated priest. Fr. Andrew now serves St. Peter & Andrew in Stamford, CT. In 2012, HE Metropolitan Bakhomious, the Locum Tenum Pope, ordained Fr. Isaac Salib to serve our church. In 2015, HG Bishop David ordained Fr. Michael Hefzallah to serve our growing church in the State of Connecticut. Fr. Isaac Salib is now serving a new church in Cheshire, CT. In March 2019, H.G. ordained five full deacons (Deacon John Mikhail, Deacon Sam Kalta, Deacon Yousef Yousef, Deacon Kyrillos Azer, and Deacon Gabriel Abdelsayed) to serve our church and community. In October 2019, H.G. Bishop David ordained Fr. Bechoi Saleib to serve our growing church beside Fr. Abraham and Fr. Michael. In August 2020, our church acquired a new facility located less than 2 miles away from our church to become the main campus of our church. It is situated on 8 acres of land. It consists of a large church with a gym and stage, a school with large fields, a convent, and a rectory. We pray that Christ may continue to bless our church through the intercessions of the Virgin Mary and Archangel Michael.


Church Timeline
Coptic Church

The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is:

An Ancient Christian Church. It is one of the most ancient Churches in the world, having been founded by Saint Mark the Apostle, the writer of the second gospel, in the first Century. The word ‘Coptic’ comes from the ancient Egyptian word ‘hekaptah’ meaning ‘Egypt’, and thus ‘Coptic’ merely means ‘Egyptian.’ As a conservative Church, the Coptic Church has carefully preserved the Orthodox Christian Faith in its earliest and purest form, handing it down from generation to generation, unaltered and true to the Apostolic doctrines and patterns of worship.

Trinitarian. She believes in the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (being one God); and that our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, the true Son of God, became incarnate, was born of the Virgin Saint Mary, died for us on the Cross that He may grant us Salvation, rose on the third day that He may grant us everlasting life with Him, and ascended to heaven after forty days, sending the Holy Spirit to His disciples as He promised them, on the day of Pentecost.

Apostolic. She was founded by Saint Mark the Apostle and Evangelist who preached to the Egyptians around 60-70 A.D.

Scriptural (Biblical). Her main point of reference is the Holy Scripture, as depicted in literal translations such as King James (KJV), New King James (NJKV), and the Revised Standard Version (RSV). Although the Coptic Orthodox Church accepts any New Testament translation that is faithful to the Greek Textus Receptus translation, She prefers only the Septuagint (LXX) translation of the Old Testament and not the Masoretic text found in most Bibles today.

Traditional. One of the pillars of her faith is the teachings of the early Church Fathers as well as the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed as a statement of Her Faith.

Sacramental. She has seven primary Mysteries: Baptism, Chrismation, Confession, the Eucharist (Communion), Marriage, Priesthood, and the Anointing of the Sick.

Conservative. She does not change basic matters of Faith, Dogma or Tradition to suit current trends (this does not mean however that matters such as language and day-to day practices are not changed to suit conditions of ministry and the needs of the congregation). Holding on to such matters of Faith and practice has not been an easy task, as the Coptic Church has always lived persecution of one form or another since its establishment in the first century.

Copt

The Term “Copt” 

The term “Copt” and “Egyptian” have the same meaning as derived from the Greek word aigyptos. With the suppression of the prefix, the suffix of the word, the stem “gypt” has become part of the words for “Egypt” and for “Copt” in all the modern languages of Latin origin. The Coptic Church then is simply the Egyptian Church.

The Coptic Language – It is the last shape of the language of the ancient Egyptians. The earlier shapes represented in the Hieroglyphic and Hieratic and Demotic alphabet became inaccessible to the growing needs of daily life. After the spread of Christianity, Egyptian scholars trans-literated Egyptian texts into the Greek alphabet, and adopted the last seven additional letters of the Coptic alphabet from their own Demotic.

The Founders of the Church – The Copts pride themselves on the apostolicity of their national church, whose founder was none other than St. Mark, one of the four Evangelists and the writer of the oldest canonical Gospel. John Mark is regarded by the Coptic hierarchy as the first in their unbroken chain of 117 popes. He is also the first of a stream of Egyptian saints and glorious martyrs.

Church of Martyrs – After the martyrdom of St. Mark, the Coptic Church faced severe persecutions. The seventh persecution inflamed by emperor Diocletian; his reign (284-305) is considered by the Copts as the age of persecution. Under Maximin Daia (305-313), his successor in the East, the massacre continued for eight years of systematic killing. This could account for tremendous number of martyrs. So profound was the impression of the persecution of Diocletian on Coptic life and thought that the Copts decided to adopt for church use a calendar of the martyrs, the “Anno Martyri”. The first year of that calendar was 284 A.D., the year of the disastrous accession of Diocletian.

Catechetical School of Alexandria – The school of Alexandria was undoubtedly the earliest important institution of theological learning in Christian antiquity. It was a college in which many other disciplines were studied from the humanities, science and mathematics; but its main discipline was religion. According to Eusebius, its founder was St. Mark who appointed Lustus as its dean, (later on, Lustus became the sixth patriarch). Most of the eminent leaders of Alexandria like Clement, Origen, Dionysius, Athanasius, Didymus the Blind and Cyril, were known to have been connected with it, either as teachers or students.

The Church of Monasticism – The Christian Church heavily indebted for the creation of monasticism which started in Egypt. Although St. Paul the Theban (died 340) is considered the first hermit, the origins of monasticism are ascribed to St. Anthony (251356) whose fame was spread by his famous biography written by St. Athanasius. The Fathers of the Church from numerous parts of the world came to Egypt for training in the way of monasticism. Monasticism has survived in Egypt and has given the Coptic Church an unbroken line of 117 Popes beginning with St. Mark. Although most of the monasteries have disappeared under the Arab persecution there is a revival in the surviving ones.

Adapted from “The Servants’ Manual” by Joseph Ibrahim

St. Mark

The Coptic Church or the Church of Alexandria is called “Sees of St. Mark”; one of the earliest four sees: Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, and Rome.

St. Mark, The Founder

The Copts are proud of the apostolicity of their Church, whose founder is St. Mark, one of the seventy Apostles (Mk 10:10Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)), and one of the four Evangelists. He is regarded by the Coptic hierarchy as the first of their unbroken 117 patriarchs, and also the first of a stream of Egyptian martyrs. This apostolicity was not only furnished on grounds of its foundation but rather by the persistence of the Church in observing the same faith received by the Apostle and his successors, the Holy Fathers.

St. Mark’s Bibliography

St. Mark was an African native of Jewish parents who belonged to the Levites’ tribe. His family lived in Cyrenaica until they were attacked by some barbarians, and lost their property. Consequently, they moved to Jerusalem with their child John Mark (Acts 12:12Open in Logos Bible Software (if available), 25Open in Logos Bible Software (if available); 15:37Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)). Apparently, he was given a good education and became conversant in both Greek and Latin in addition to Hebrew. His family was highly religious and in close relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. His cousin was St. Barnabas and his father’s cousin was St. Peter. His mother, Mary, played an important part in the early days of the Church in Jerusalem. Her upper room became the first Christian church in the world where the Lord Jesus Christ Himself instituted the Holy Eucharist (Mk 14:12-26Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)). Also, this is the same place where the Lord appeared to the disciples after His resurrection and His Holy Spirit came upon them.

Young Mark was always associated with the Lord, who choose him as one of the seventy. He is mentioned in the Holy Scriptures in a number of events related with the Lord. For example, he was present at the wedding of Cana of Galilee, and was the man who had been carrying the jar when the two disciples went to prepare a place for the celebration of the Passover (Mk 14:13-14Open in Logos Bible Software (if available); Lk 22:11Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)).

St. Mark and The Lion

The voice of the lion is the symbol of St. Mark for two reasons:

1. He begins his Holy Gospel by describing John the Baptist as a lion roaring in the desert (Mk 1:3Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)).

2. His famous story with lion, as related to us by Severus Ebn-El-Mokafa:

Once a lion and lioness appeared to John Mark and his father Arostalis while they were traveling in Jordan. The father was very scared and begged his son to escape, while he awaited his fate. John Mark assured his father that Jesus Christ would save them and began to pray. The two beasts fell dead and as a result of this miracle, the father believed in Christ.

Preaching with the Apostles

At first, St. Mark accompanied St. Peter on his missionary journeys inside Jerusalem and Judea. Then he accompanied St. Paul and St. Barnabas on their first missionary journey to Antioch, Cyprus and Asia Minor, but for some reason or another he left them and returned home (Acts 13:13Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)). On their second trip, St. Paul refused to take him along because he left them on the previous mission; for this reason St. Barnabas was separated from St. Paul and went to Cyprus with his cousin St. Mark (Acts 15:36-41Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)). There, he departed in the Lord and St. Mark buried him. Afterwards, St. Paul needed St. Mark with him and they both preached in Colosse (Col 4:10Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)), Rome (Phil 24; 2 Tim 4:11Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)) and perhaps in Venice.

In Africa

Coptic Cathedral of St. Mark in Alexandria, EgyptSt. Mark’s real labor lays in Africa. He left Rome to Pentapolis, where he was born. After planting the seeds of faith and performing many miracles he traveled to Egypt, through the Oasis, the desert of Libya, Upper Egypt and then entered Alexandria from its eastern gate in 61 A.D.

On his arrival, the strap of his sandal was loose. He went to a cobbler to mend it. When the cobbler – Anianos – took an awl to work on it, he accidentally pierced his hand and cried aloud “O One God”. At this utterance, St. Mark rejoiced and after miraculously healing the man’s wound, took courage and began to preach to the hungry ears of his convert. The spark was ignited and Anianos took the Apostle home with him. He and his family were baptized, and many others followed.

The spread of Christianity must have been quite remarkable because pagans were furious and ought St. Mark everywhere. Smelling the danger, the Apostle ordained a bishop (Anianos), three priests and seven deacons to look after the congregation if anything befell him. He left Alexandria to Berce, then to Rome, where he met St. Peter and St. Paul and remained there until their martyrdom in 64 A.D.

Upon returning to Alexandria in 65 AD, St. Mark found his people firm in faith and thus decided to visit Pentapolis. There, he spent two years preaching and performing miracles, ordaining bishops and priests, and winning more converts.

Finally he returned to Alexandria and was overjoyed to find that Christians had multiplied so much that they were able to build a considerable church in the suburban district of Baucalis.

His Martyrdom

In the year 68 AD, Easter fell on the same day as the Serapis feast. The furious heathen mob had gathered in the Serapis temple at Alexandria and then descended on the Christians who were celebrating the Glorous Resurrection at Baucalis. St. Mark was seized, dragged with a rope through the main streets of the city. Crowds were shouting “The ox must be led to Baucalis,” a precipitous place full of rock where they fed the oxen that were used in the sacrifice to idols. At nightfall the saint was thrown into prison, where he was cheered by the vision of an angel, strengthening him saying, “Now your hour has come O Mark, the good minister, to receive your recompense. Be encouraged, for your name has been written in the book of life.” When the angel disappeared, St. Mark thanked God for sending His angel to him. Suddenly, the Savior Himself appeared and said to him, “Peace be to you Mark, my disciple and evangelist!” St. Mark started to shout, “O My Lord Jesus” but the vision disappeared.

On the following morning probably during the triumphal procession of Serapis he was again dragged around the city till death. His bloody flesh was torn, and it was their intention to cremate his remains, but the wind blew and the rain fell in torrents and the populaces disperse. Christians stole his body and secretly buried him in a grave that they had engraved on a rock under the altar of the church.

His Apostolic Acts

St. Mark was a broad-minded Apostle. His ministry was quite productive and covered large field of activities. These include:

• Preaching in Egypt, Pentapolis, Judea, Asia Minor, and Italy during which time he ordained bishops, priests, and deacons.

• Establishing the “School of Alexandria” which defended Christianity against philosophical school of Alexandria and conceived a large number of great Fathers.

• Writing the Divine Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist which was modified later by St. Cyril to the Divine Liturgy known today as the Divine Liturgy of St. Cyril.

Coptic Egypt

The Coptic Church was established in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ by St. Mark the Evangelist in the city of Alexandria around 43 A.D. The church adheres to the Nicene Creed. St. Athanasius (296-373 A.D.), the twentieth Pope of the Coptic Church effectively defended the Doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ’s Divinity at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. His affirmation of the doctrine earned him the title; “Father of Orthodoxy” and St. Athanasius “the Apostolic”.

The term “Coptic” is derived from the Greek “Aigyptos” meaning “Egyptian”. When the Arabs arrived in Egypt in the seventh century, they called the Egyptians “qibt”. Thus the Arabic word “qibt” came to mean both “Egyptians” and “Christians”.

The term “Orthodoxy” here refers to the preservation of the “Original Faith” by the Copts who, throughout the ages, defended the Old Creed against the numerous attacks aimed at it.

The Coptic Orthodox Church believes that the Holy Trinity: God The Father, God The Son, and God The Holy Spirit, are equal to each other in one unity; and that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only Savior of the world. Less changes have taken place in the Coptic Church than in any other church whether in the ritual or doctrine aspects and that the succession of the Coptic Patriarchs, Bishops, priests and Deacons has been continuous.

“Blessed is Egypt my people” (Isa 19:25)

God’s promise to His people is always fulfilled; He foretold that He would ride on a light and upon a swift cloud and come to Egypt (Isa 19:1); and in that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord at its border (Isa 19:19). This promise was fulfilled by the flight of the Holy Family from the face of the tyrant Herod to find refuge among the Gentiles. Thus our Lord Jesus Christ came during His childhood to Egypt to lay by Himself the foundation stone of His Church in Egypt which has become one of the four primary “Sees” in the world, among the churches of Jerusalem, Antioch and Rome, and joined later by the “See” of Constantinople.

The star of the Egyptian Church shone through the School of Alexandria which taught Christendom the allegoric and spiritual methods in interpreting the Holy Scripture and was the leader in defending the Orthodox faith on an ecumenical level.

The Christian monastic movement in all its forms started in Egypt, attracting the heart of the Church towards the desert, to practice the angelic inner life. This happened at the time when the doors of the royal court had been opened to the clergy, and this consequently endangered the church, as the quiet and spiritual church work was mixed with the temporal authority and politics of the royal court.

The Egyptian Church carried our Lord Jesus Christ’s cross throughout generations, bearing sufferings even from the side of Christians themselves. She continued to offer a countless number of martyrs and confessors throughout ages. Sometimes the people of towns were martyred and many struggled to win the crowns of martyrdom happily and with a heart full of joy.

Our Church is ancient and new at the same time: ancient in being apostolic, founded by St. Mark the Evangelist and traditional in holding fast to the original apostolic faith without deviation. She is also new through her Living Messiah who never becomes old and through the Spirit of God who renews her youth (Ps. 103:5).

The Coptic Church is rich with her evangelistic and ascetic life, her genuine patriotic inheritance, her heavenly worship, her spiritual rituals, her effective and living hymns, her beautiful icons, etc. She attracts the heart towards heaven without ignoring actual daily life. We can say that she is an apostolic, contemporary church that carries life and thought to the contemporary man without deviation. One finds in her life, sweetness and power of Spirit, with appreciation to and sanctification of arts, literature and human culture.

The Church is well known for her numerous saints: ascetics, clergymen and laymen. She offered many saints throughout ages and is still offering the same today. For she believes that practicing the sanctified life and communion with God, the Holy One, is prior to satisfying minds with solid mental studies.

Our Pope

His Holiness Pope Tawadros II was born Wagih Sobhy Baky Soliman on November 4th, 1952 in Mansoura. His father was an irrigation engineer and his family moved around during his childhood from Mansoura to Sohag and then to Damanhour.He received his bachelor’s degree in pharmacy in 1975 from Alexandria University and earned a fellowship for the World Health Organization from the British International Health Institute in England in 1985. He attended the Coptic Seminary and graduated in 1983. He then worked as a manager in a pharmaceutical company in Damanhour that was owned by the Ministry of Health.

His Holiness’s life has always revolved around church since his youth; he wished to live the life of monasticism. He entered the Monastery of St. Pishoy in Wadi Elnatroun on August 20th, 1986 and remained a brother for two years. He was ordained a monk on July 31, 1988 and after a year he was ordained a priest on December 23, 1989. Two months after, H.H. Pope Tawadros started serving with H.E. Metropolitan Pakhomius of Beheira on February 15th, 1990. He was ordained a bishop on June 15th, 1997 by H.H. the Late Pope Shenouda III as a General Bishop assisting H.E. Metropolitan Pakhomius. His Holiness focused on childhood whether it was in the country-wide children’s festival as well when he was in charge of the children’s committee in the Holy Synod. Before assuming the papacy, H.H. wrote twelve books.

His Holiness was enthroned as the 118th Pope of Alexandria and Pope of the See of St. Mark on November 18th, 2012 at the Cathedral of St. Reweiss in Abbassiya, Cairo. The enthronement was presided by H.E. Metropolitan Pakhomius of Beheira, other metropolitans and bishops of the Coptic church and was attended by many delegates of Christian Churches.

 

Our Diocese

The Diocese was officially established in 2013 by His Holiness Pope Tawadros II. The foundation of the Diocese was planted in the mid-1970s when numerous Coptic families emigrated to the United States from Egypt under the leadership and guidance of His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, the time came in 2013 for the official establishment of a Diocese under the auspices of His Grace Bishop David.

His Grace Bishop David was consecrated in formal ceremonies taking place in Cairo, Egypt on November 16-17, 2013. Bishop David was formally enthroned on December 7, 2013 at the Coptic Orthodox Church of St. Abraam in Woodbury, Long Island in a ceremony that brought together thousands of the Coptic faithful, clergy, and dignitaries.

Our Bishop

His Grace Bishop David was born on August 7, 1967 in Cairo, Egypt. In 1984, at the age of 17, he emigrated to Toronto, Canada with his family, where he attended York University. His Grace graduated from York with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 1991.

In March 1992, His Grace joined St. Pishoy Monastery as a novice, and was ordained a monk on January 22, 1995. His Grace was ordained a priest on October 21, 1995 and served at the Diocese of Birmingham in the United Kingdom from November 1995 until November 1999. In November 1999, His Grace was ordained as a General Bishop by the Thrice-Blessed Pope Shenouda III of Blessed Memory. That month, His Grace was also appointed as the Patriarchal Exarch at the Archdiocese of North America in Cedar Grove, New Jersey and entrusted to oversee the papal residence and non-diocesan Coptic communities throughout North America. His Grace has since earned two Master’s Degrees, his first in Pastoral Counseling from Fordham University in New York in May 2010, and his most recent in Theological Studies from Holy Cross School of Theology in Boston in May 2013.

His Grace has represented the Coptic Orthodox Church in various conferences, including, most recently, the Assembly of the World Council of Churches in South Korea in October 2013. His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, with the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church, consecrated His Grace as the first Shepherd and Diocesan Bishop of the newly formed Coptic Orthodox Diocese of New York and New England in formal ceremonies taking place in Cairo, Egypt on November 16-17, 2013.

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Covid-19

Covid-19 Protocol

 

Dear beloved members of the congregation of the Church of Virgin Mary & Archangel Michael of Hamden, CT.

 

Peace and grace to you,

 

We, the church clergy hope this letter finds you and your family well and in good health. Our church community has been through a lot over the last few months, and we are all looking forward to returning to a sense of normalcy. We know that all of you have been awaiting the resumption of services in our beloved church. While many things have changed, some things remain the same: our faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ, our firm belief in the sacrament of the Eucharist, and our undying love for one another. Many of you have been waiting for further details regarding the gradual resumption of liturgical services.

 

For your safety, H.G. Bishop David, in unison with the church priests of the Archdiocese in New Jersey and the New York and New England Diocese have asked each church to adhere strictly to the CDC recommendation, as well as regulations and guidelines of state and local authorities. We also continue to follow these agencies so that we are up to date with any changes that may be issued. Great care went into facilitating the opening of our church, including the time and frequency of the liturgy to ensure the safety of every single member of the congregation. God willing, when liturgies resume, you may see some changes as explained in the attached protocol which we kindly ask you to read and follow thoroughly. We look forward to celebrating the liturgy with you again and are happy to answer any questions you may have about the steps we take to keep you and your family safe. The circumstances under which we must celebrate for the foreseeable future are not ideal and are difficult to work around. But we trust in our Lord that “all things work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28 NKJV).

 

We want to thank each one of you for your continuous prayers for our beloved church and our beloved shepherd H.G. Bishop David.

 

The Church.

 

Please Proceed to Covid-19 Protocol

COVID-19 Pandemic Protocol for Resuming In-Person Church Services

 

Many of you have been waiting for further details regarding the gradual restarting of liturgical services. Please read the following in its entirety, which shall be in effect until July 30, 2020, unless otherwise extended by the H.G. Bishop David, in unison with the church priests of the Archdiocese in New Jersey and the Diocese of New York and New England.

  1. Based on state law and local regulations and guidelines:

    1. There will be a TOTAL of 10 persons inside the church building including children as well as one priest and two deacons. Consequently, there will be a MAXIMUM of 7 spots for the congregation.

    2. Each spot is for an individual person, so, for example, a family of 5 would take up 5 spots.

    3. All household members should remain home (and/or seek medical help) if any member is showing any “COVID related symptoms,” such as (cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, fever of 99 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, chills, muscle pain, fatigue, loss of smell/taste, diarrhea/Gastrointestinal symptoms, and/or has been in direct contact with another sick person exhibiting any of the above-mentioned symptoms within the last 2 weeks, whether confirmed COVID-19 or not);

    4. Elderly (above 65 and above) and immunocompromised persons are advised to stay home and to make alternate arrangements to receive holy communion with the priest.

    5. All persons in attendance must maintain a distance of at least 6 feet apart from one another.

    6. All persons in attendance must wear a face mask each covering the mouth and nose at all times (unless otherwise instructed) and must sanitize their hands upon entry to the church.

    7. In any setting where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, more protective face coverings than cloth face coverings must be used.

    8. A deacon will be at the door to screen the following, prior to congregants being admitted to the Church.

    9. Confirming if the member is on the pre-assigned list to attend the respective Liturgy.

    10. The temperature of each person will be checked prior to admittance along with answering a set of questions on the provided checklist. 

    11. If a congregant or any member of their household exhibits any COVID related symptoms, the entire household will not be admitted to Church.

    12. To help prevent any potential cross-contamination, cell phones and other personal belongings, such as purses, bags, etc. should be left in the vehicles; and

    13. Each church will designate a place outside the nave of the church for the congregants to leave their shoes.

 

2. Based on these limitations, we will begin to pray liturgies multiple times per week. Attendance will be based on the following system:

  1. Families will be randomly selected to attend liturgy from the list of families who registered. No family will attend twice before all the registered families in that church get a turn to attend.

  2. Registration to attend liturgies for the members of our church will be sent to you personally.

  3. Prior to the day of each liturgy, there will be a confirmation of the ability of the assigned families to attend as well as a health screening through a brief questionnaire.

  4. If you have been assigned to a particular date, you MUST be in church promptly by 8:30 AM (for example). The doors of the church will be locked promptly at 8:30 AM;

  5. If you have been assigned to a particular date, you MUST attend on that date, or else you have taken away from someone else the opportunity to pray liturgy and receive communion. Should you miss your turn, you will have to wait until the entire congregation has had a chance to attend, and then you will have a chance to re-enter for Liturgy.

  6. After the liturgy has concluded, everyone must promptly leave the premises. There will be no social gatherings or agape meals; and

  7. All other building facilities will be off-limits.

 

The circumstances under which we must celebrate for the foreseeable future are not ideal and are difficult to work around. We ask each person's cooperation to allow this process to be safe, fair, and as smooth as possible. 

3. Please notice that, by REGISTERING your household and CONFIRMING your attendance at our Church on a particular day, you agree that we cannot guarantee that all occupants entering the church premises are free from the coronavirus. Nonetheless, we are taking the necessary precaution to protect all members of our church pursuing the CDC guidelines and recommendations. As such, anyone choosing to enter the church premises does so knowing and assuming all risks. Our church will not be liable to anyone who chooses to enter its premises and later alleges to have contracted the coronavirus through the church. If anyone knows they have the virus, has been in contact with anyone with the virus, or is not feeling well in any capacity, our Church is instructing you NOT to come to church. If anyone contracts the virus and has been to our Church within 14 days of attending Liturgy, it is MANDATORY that you immediately contact the priests so the appropriate steps can be taken to safeguard the congregation. To mitigate the infection, every person should not pray in more than one church at this time until further notice. You should stick to one church during this pandemic. If one church gets infected, we will close churches that have been crossed. We do not want to spread the virus to all beloved ones and close more than one church at the same time. Thank you for understanding.

 

            Thank you, and may God bless you and your family.

 

 

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